As many readers of this blog know, I love to hike and bring back pictures from the various trails of wildlife so this story was particularly chilling for me. Darsh Patel was hiking with his four friends when they spotted a black bear in New Jersey and stopped to take pictures. Patel continued to take five pictures with his cellphone as the 300-pound bear charged and killed him.
I have seen dozens of black bears while backpacking and hiking, particularly in Virginia and Michigan. Attacks are incredibly rare. I often see black bears on the Old Rag hike or other locations in the Shenandoah. I black bears come through camp sites at night in past years without incident.
In this case, the hikers are in the Apshawa Preserve in West Milford in September and decided to split up when the male bear got closer. The bear selected Patel and mauled him — even gouging his cellphone.
The bear was later shot by a police officer and was found to have digested human flesh. It was a four year old male bear.
Police said that Patel, 22, was the first person to be killed by a bear in New Jersey. That is a rather surprising statistic for a state like New Jersey with ample forested areas, even considering the low likelihood of such attacks. Black bears have killed 61 people in North America since 1900. As one bear site host remarked,”My chances of being killed by a domestic dog, bees, or lightning are vastly greater. My chances of being murdered are 60,000 times greater. One of the safest places a person can be is in the woods.”
Source: NY Post